With nearly 1.5 billion people, Africa has a young, rapidly rising population, coupled with an abundance of natural resources, access to key minerals for the green economy and a growing importance in the geopolitical balance of power. Hear from the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Molly Phee, as she discusses U.S. policy toward this vital region.

Assistant Secretary Phee brings a wealth of experience to her understanding of this vast and diverse continent, comprising over 50 countries and numerous cultures, languages and geographies. She outlines the current approach to U.S.-Africa relations and share her experiences building bridges of understanding and economic prosperity with people across Africa. Minnesota’s significant and vibrant African diaspora add to the importance and relevance of understanding this crucial relationship.

“As the only region forecasted to have a growing working-age population in the coming decades, Africa and its people will become increasingly influential in an otherwise ageing global economy.” — The Economist

About Assistant Secretary Phee:

Molly Phee, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor, was sworn in as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs on September 30, 2021. She most recently served as the Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. She was U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan from 2015-2017. She previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. Additionally she was the Acting Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, as well as Deputy Security Council Coordinator at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, handling UN engagement in Africa and the Middle East for both portfolios.

Earlier in her career, Phee served on the National Security Council as Director for Iraq and as the Senior Civilian Representative of the Coalition Provisional Authority to Maysan Province, Iraq. She began her career at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, and worked at U.S. Embassies in Cairo, Egypt and Kuwait City, Kuwait. A native of Chicago, she is a graduate of Indiana University and earned a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She has received the Distinguished Honor Award, the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for conflict resolution and peacemaking, the Baker-Wilkins Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Order of the British Empire Award, and a Presidential Rank Award. She speaks Arabic.

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